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How we researched fluor free ski waxes

How we researched fluor free ski waxes

Today's fluor free ski wax is the result of thousands of hours of testing, errors, research and lab work.

It is important for us to become fluor free because it has gradually been well documented that fluorine has harmful effects on health and the environment.

Christian Gløgård, R&D Manager

Early research into the consequences of fluor

We cut all production and sales of fluor containing ski waxes in 2020, but the work towards fluor free skiing began long before this, and long before a fluor ban was introduced in the World Cup.

– In 2009–10, the first reports showed that PFOA was found in wax. PFOA is currently a prohibited substance associated with fluor. This was taken very seriously at an early stage, Gløgård continues.

Cut out dangerous fluor

At that time, we collaborated with the FHI (Norwegian Institute of Public Health) and Stami (Norwegian Institute of Occupational Health) to find out what the extent of the problem with fluor in ski waxes actually was.

We then started the work of cutting out what is known as long-chain fluor technology (C8) from the ski wax. Long-chain fluor technology was banned in the EU in 2020.

We moved to C6, which is short-chain fluor technology, until all fluor was cut in 2020. The C6 chain fluoride technology is still permitted in the EU.

Work on fluor free ski wax began

SINTEF and us began researching new substances that could replace the fluor in ski waxes back in 2013. The substances had to have the same properties as fluor, being able to provide a good glide on the skis, but also be degradable.

- In our top range of wax for gliders, which is called TS (Top Speed), we have replaced the fluor with two types of substances. These are substances that are hydrophobic but also biodegradable. This means that when these substances come into contact with soil and water, they are broken down into sand and water. These are two substances that have different properties, but which work together, says Christian Gløgård.

Several types of fluor free ski wax

Today, you’ll find fluor free ski wax for all types of use: From liquid glide wax that is sprayed directly onto the skis to powder for competitions and products used for alpine skis. The products are the result of hours of testing, trial and error, research and lab work.

– The ski waxes sold today are technologically much more advanced products than the fluor products they replace, says Gløgård.

Proud of the work

In an episode of our podcast, you get to know Espen Falck Engelstad, former CEO of Brav, the company which owns Swix. He stresses that launching Swix as completely fluor free is something that means a lot to him.

- It’s developments like these that makes you very proud of working at Swix and the company, says Falck Engelstad.